In February 2013, Formula 1 driver and EASST Ambassador Alex Wurz launched a ‘Safe Driving for Life’ campaign in Moldova. The campaign is being organized by EASST and its partner the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) with the assistance of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), who are taking an active role in promoting a safe driving culture as part of the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety. The two-day launch workshop, held in Chisinau on 13-14th February, brought together stakeholders concerned with the number of work-related road incidents in the country, specifically those involving public transport fleets and drivers. The rate of road fatalities in the Republic of Moldova is twice as high as the average for the EU27 and over three times as high as the fatality rate in the UK, despite much smaller vehicle density.
Globally around a third of road injuries are work-related, locally representing a loss estimated by EASST of 70 million Euros per annum to the Moldovan economy. A number of fatal public transport crashes have occurred in the last year at huge cost – both human and economic. The issue of safe public road passenger transport has now become prominent on the political agenda in Moldova, where there is a new desire to find effective solutions. Further information about the campaign launch and ceremony can be viewed here.
In addition to signing Safe Driving Pledges, the participants of the two-day workshop agreed to establish a working group to continue making progress in this area. The first meeting of the working group was held on 21st March 2013 held at the EBRD office in Moldova. Nineteen delegates were present including representatives from Coca Cola, Petrom, the State Road Police and Emergency Services, the Trolleybus companies of Chisinau, the ‘Driver Plus’ driving school and ‘Autorapid,’ the largest maxi-taxi firm in Chisinau, among others – all reporting on their activities since the launch of the campaign and sharing best practice, ideas and advice on driver training and road safety policies.
All participants of the working group will be sent a questionnaire in order to assess the group’s activities and review their plans to implement road safety policies within their companies. The ACM particularly encouraged the implementation of driver training schemes to improve driving standards, the distribution of driver Code of Conducts (as detailed in the campaign launch) and the sharing of Safe Driving Pledges among colleagues. The group will meet every three months in order to continue discussion and progress in this vital area.